Get cash back without even trying when buying gifts this year

cash back. Those two words should be music to your ears. You’re going to make a purchase anyway, so you may be rewarded for it, too. Saving money doesn’t involve the celebration of coupon-clipping or discount-finding.

There are some super simple ways to get cash back that require little or no effort on your part.

Are you still shopping online the old fashioned way by just visiting and browsing the retailer’s website? You are letting some free money slip through your fingers. Cash-back sites reward you for launching a shopping campaign on their home page.

Get paid back for online shopping
They receive a commission by sending your business to an online retailer and then give some of that commission back to you in the form of cash back or other rewards. Here are two popular alternatives that also offer apps to make mobile shopping easier:

Ebates: Ebates may be the most recognizable name among cash-back sites. It’s free to join and pay by check or PayPal. Ebates partners with over 2,000 stores ranging from big names like Amazon and Walmart to small specialty boutiques, so chances are good that your favorites are on the list.

BeFrugal: BeFrugal is as big on offering coupons as it is on cash back, which makes it a convenient jumping-off point for general bargain hunting. The big savings are when you can stack coupons with cash back offers for bonus Rs. BeFrugal also guarantees that its coupons will work and that it will offer the highest cash-back rates for its partner retailers. View printable coupons to save offline, too.

As with any financial venture, you can shop between cash-back sites to see which one offers the best rate of return, especially if you plan to make a large purchase.

Take full advantage of your credit card
Cash back credit cards are all the rage for a good reason. They reward your spending by giving you a certain percentage back and all you have to do is shop like normal.

There are so many cash-back credit card options out there, so how do you choose which one to go with? Be sure to check the terms of the deal. You’ll want to look for the usual perks, such as no annual fee, but the specifics of the cash back you get can be complicated.

Some cards will give a flat percentage back on all purchases, while others will reward you for spending on specific categories like groceries, restaurants or gas. If you travel or eat a lot, it can increase your profits.

You can maximize your cash-back benefits by using your card for every purchase where it makes sense. A seemingly small percentage score can fetch you a nice bonus over the course of a year.

Sometimes merchant-specific cards can make payments if you’re an avid customer. Take, for example, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card. When you have an eligible Prime membership, it gives you a healthy 5 percent back on most Amazon purchases. Amazon makes those rewards available to your Amazon account so you can continue shopping with your cash back.

Get even more cash back with your credit card purchases

If cash back directly from your credit card isn’t enough for you, you have some interesting new options to try. There’s a new range of services that link to your credit card to give you extra cash back on certain purchases. The catch is that it only works with participating retailers or restaurants in specific circumstances.

Groupon+: Everyone’s familiar with the deal site Groupon, which has built its business on discounted vouchers you can use at restaurants and stores. Groupon+ debuted in September with more than 1,500 local restaurants on its list in 23 US markets.

You enroll your Visa or MasterCard in the program and then get up to 30 percent cash back on purchases at those participating restaurants. As a bonus, you don’t need to print out the vouchers, but you do have to check which restaurants are part of the deal.

Review site Yelp already offers a similar service called Yelp Cash Back, which offers up to 10 percent off at select restaurants. Both are worth checking out if you eat out a lot and your favorite restaurants participate.

Fault: If restaurants aren’t your main thing, check out newcomer Fault, a cash-back service that works through an app for iOS and Android. It is currently in a public beta mode.

You connect your credit and debit cards to the app. When you shop at participating stores, you get cash back. Dosh is currently working with some big brand names, including Target, Gap, The Home Depot, and Holiday Inn. It works for offline purchases with participating merchants as well as online purchases made through the app.

How can Dosh pull this off? It’s a similar process to cash-back services like Ebates and BeFrugal.

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